Wednesday, December 18, 2019
The Luxembourg financial holding company Compagnie de Développement de l'Eau (CDE) wants to take over the arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch. When asked by the dpa news agency, CDE announced that it wanted to acquire the majority of the Baden-Württemberg company.
It has a "long-term investment horizon" and wants to continue the course taken by the management, according to which Heckler & Koch only wants to sell its weapons to democratic and non-corrupt NATO countries and NATO-related countries. Since 2015, CDE has held 5.1 percent of the share capital of the armory.
Heckler & Koch currently employs more than 900 people. The company's financial situation is tense and the mountain of debt is large. After two years of losses, 2019 looks better again, the top management is aiming for a small profit. The order books are full, but employees are said to have been asked for unpaid extra work.
CDE rebels against still majority shareholders
So far, the majority of the company belongs to the German investor Andreas Heeschen. He had already announced in November that he wanted to hand over the majority to another shareholder – to whom it remained open. However, the company announced at the time that a takeover application had already been submitted to the Federal Ministry of Economics.
French investor Nicolas Walewski is behind CDE with his family's private wealth. A French lawyer based on the Caribbean island of Barbados acts as trustee of this property. The federal government is still examining whether it approves the takeover – it has the last word for armaments companies.
This Thursday, the shareholders of Heckler & Koch come together for an extraordinary general meeting. The meeting is eagerly awaited because CDE had requested Harald Kujat, the current Chairman of the Supervisory Board, to be re-elected. Still majority owner Heeschen wants to keep the former inspector general of the Bundeswehr in office and also – also against the opposition of the CDE – to have his own seat on the supervisory board.